UK: Your confidential medical records for sale… at just £1: Hunt insists plan to sell details to private firms is vital to combat epidemics – but critics fear 'unprecedented' privacy threat
More on a government plan to allow private companies to purchase patient data from the NHS without patient knowledge or consent. Stephen Adams reports:
A secret plan to sell confidential medical records to private companies for as little as £1 has been drawn up by officials.
From next month, GPs will start sending detailed NHS patient records to a central database for the first time under the new General Practice Extraction Service (GPES).
Yet doctors do not have to tell patients about the project, described by campaigners as an ‘unprecedented threat’ to medical confidentiality.
The records – held for every person registered with a GP – will contain details of medical conditions, as well as ‘identifiable’ information including a patient’s NHS number, postcode and date of birth.
Private firms such as Bupa can then apply to the Health Service to buy and use data from the records for research.
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